Trade Lanes

Trade Lanes

In-depth news and analysis of the world's major shipping trade lanes including the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Asia-Europe and more.

Several variables can affect a trade lane's popularity — including its inclusion/discontinuance by an ocean carrier. The container line landscape is constantly evolving as market dynamics present new challenges to the industry.


Negotiations for 2019-2020 shipping contracts will be difficult on a number of fronts.

News & Analysis

04 Aug 2020
Sources expect Bangladesh’s export figures for August and September to fall sharply, given the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and bankruptcy declarations from some major apparel retailers.
14 Jul 2020
Bangladesh’s maritime regulator implemented the quarantine in February just as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) began spreading globally.
10 Jul 2020
A new waterborne service has debuted between Chittagong and Kolkata, saving time and money for shippers.
22 Jun 2020
Select blank sailings on the East Coast South America-Asia trade come as currency devaluations by both Brazil and Argentina are boosting exports to Asia, particularly of reefer cargoes, fueling an imbalance in container volumes.
29 May 2020
As intra-Asia volumes seek to find their footing amid COVID-19, the mounting war of words over China’s initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak could result in a shift of multinational manufacturing from China to other regional players.
14 May 2020
US imports from Asia declined 1.3 percent in April from the same month last year. It was the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year decline in imports in the eastbound trans-Pacific.
01 May 2020
A temporary rush of imports, coupled with blank sailings in Asia, resulted in increased spot rates this week.
24 Apr 2020
Carriers will blank dozens of sailings in the trans-Pacific as they anticipate a double-digit drop in imports in May and June.
22 Apr 2020
The devastating impact of the US-China trade war followed by the COVID-19 destruction of consumer demand in the US will result in a dispersal of trade lanes connecting North America with growing production clusters in Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Latin America.
17 Apr 2020
The series of blank sailings is intended to shore up freight rates that have dropped to around $900-$1,000 per FEU from about $2,400 per FEU at the beginning of the year.
14 Apr 2020
The strong growth in US resin exports of the last two years could falter in 2020 as overseas production gets cheaper due to the fall in oil prices and demand weakens amid the global recessionary pressures from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
23 Mar 2020
Growth in trade between the United States and Europe decelerated only slightly in 2019, even as antagonism over tariffs, taxes, and subsidies on both sides of the Atlantic deepened.
18 Mar 2020
Cosco Shipping is adding a route linking the US Gulf Coast with Brazil and other parts of South America, despite data showing trade growth between the US and Latin America slowed last year.
18 Mar 2020
The dearth of Asia volumes will give way to surges hitting North American and European ports that may be short-lived as recessionary conditions dampen demand.
17 Mar 2020
While Chinese manufacturing and trucking capacity is recovering as workers return from quarantine, the surge of containerized exports being produced threaten to overwhelm some North American ports and inland networks.
13 Mar 2020
Double-digit week-over-week increase in West Coast spot rate Friday reflects a surge in US imports leaving Chinese ports, as well as the tightening of capacity due to blank sailings.
10 Mar 2020
Big capacity cuts fueled by coronavirus-related disruptions have resulted in large rate hikes on India trade lanes.
06 Mar 2020
Shippers and transportation providers are hoping the 2019 European Union–Mercosur free trade agreement will finally bring some much-needed stability to the northbound South America–Europe trade lane, but lawmakers in Europe are having a tough time ratifying the deal.
02 Mar 2020
Terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach are canceling work shifts due to plunging cargo volumes, which is causing a backlog of empty containers in Southern California and could trigger chassis shortages if the condition is not resolved soon.
28 Feb 2020
Spot rates in the eastbound trans-Pacific edged up slightly this week in the wake of blank sailings driven by the Lunar New Year and the coronavirus, although industry sources express optimism for growing cargo volumes in the second half of March.
18 Feb 2020
Declining imports due to factory shutdowns in Asia from the Lunar New Year and the coronavirus are beginning to produce a shortage of empty containers in the US interior, with the shortages expected to spike in March.
Container capacity cuts can't stop coronavirus-fueled spot rate dive
17 Feb 2020
Carriers are not having much success in balancing capacity with falling demand as the coronavirus impact cuts China’s export volume.
PIL to exit trans-Pacific in March, citing ‘strategic review’
14 Feb 2020
Pacific International Lines, which participates in a half-dozen trans-Pacific services, mostly in slot-charter arrangements, is exiting the highly-competitive Asia-US trade lane.
10 Feb 2020
Logistics experts say a return to full production in China is unlikely before the end of February, while the post-Lunar New Year lull in the trans-Pacific could extend into March because of delayed factory re-openings due to the coronavirus.
07 Feb 2020
Shippers are watching with mounting concern as measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak in China begin to weigh heavily on supply chains.
05 Feb 2020
Major carriers, including Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Hapag-Lloyd, last week announced a GRI of $400 per TEU and $500 per FEU for all types of cargo moving on the westbound Indian trade to the US and Canada, effective March 1.
Coronavirus to cost China ports 6 million TEU in Q1: analyst
05 Feb 2020
The first real estimate of the impact the coronavirus will have on China’s container supply chain has been made, and it is significant.
04 Feb 2020
Data shows that backhaul shippers are being partially subsidized by headhaul shippers; for the Pacific backhaul, that figure is roughly $1.6 billion annually.
03 Feb 2020
Beneficial cargo owners are increasingly worried that disruptions in the manufacturing and logistics supply chains in China could worsen in the coming weeks due to the coronavirus. One shipper group has asked carriers to extend free time for container storage in the US.
30 Jan 2020
A Chinese government mandate extending the Lunar New Year holidays due to the deadly coronavirus means carriers and US ports will experience slack-season volumes well into March.
Lunar New Year calm sets path for less volatile trans-Pacific
24 Jan 2020
This week before the beginning of Lunar Lunar was marked by scattered rolled cargo in Asia and flat spot rates in eastbound Pacific, indicating that the normal pre-New Year surge of imports did not happen.
OOCL has reported a good first year under the ownership of Cosco Shipping.
24 Jan 2020
The US-China trade war pulled down OOCL’s performance in the trans-Pacific, but volume and revenue growth in other trades kept its overall operational result in positive territory.
17 Jan 2020
The US-China trade war slammed import volumes sufficiently enough in 2019 that imports from Asia experienced their first year-on-year drop since the 2009 global recession.
10 Jan 2020
US imports in January-February are projected to drop steeply year-over-year, but pick up in March and return to normal seasonal trends.
10 Jan 2020
Despite the continuation of US import tariffs on $370 billion in Chinese-made goods and a slowing global economy, Asian container trade growth is expected to accelerate in 2020.